Maitland Regional Art Gallery
Bose loudspeakers discreetly enhance the viewer experience at this regional NSW art gallery.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) is situated in a beautiful heritage building in rural New South Wales’ Hunter Valley area. With 11 exhibition spaces across two levels, the gallery has been in its location for nearly 10 years and regularly hosts large events, conferences and other functions.
Previously the heritage venue had only a paging system to handle all audio reinforcement duties. This system proved vastly insufficient especially for clients who hired areas of the gallery for corporate functions or events. Speech intelligibility was a key issue, as was even coverage throughout a room.
“Our previous sound system didn’t work for us at all really,” says Maree Skene, Acting Arts Administrator at MRAG. “We were asking it to do things it just didn’t have the capacity to do. We would have large events and people weren’t able to hear what the speakers were saying, or people would hire the space and be unhappy with the output of the sound.”
A major audio system upgrade was necessary to not only offering a better experience for gallery visitors but also to future proof the gallery’s commercial prospects.
FILLING THE SPACE
AV installation business A1 Audio & Lighting presented MRAG with an audio design to transform the gallery’s sound. Bose Professional’s innovative DesignMax and EdgeMax products were at the centre of the proposed solution.
“We knew people were going to recognise the Bose loudspeaker and instantly associate quality with it,” comments Maree. “That was really important for us.”
The separate spaces in Maitland Regional Art Gallery each came with their own audio needs. The café and foyer areas required smooth low level sound reinforcement primarily for background music. Bose DesignMax ceiling loudspeakers fit the bill.
“The system in the café was designed for good coverage while performing well for background music,” explains Dillon Murphy from A1 Audio & Lighting. “We utilised the Bose DesignMax DM8C subwoofers alongside the DesignMax DM3C ceiling loudspeakers.”
In the large open gallery areas, it was important that adjacent exhibits with audio playback features of their own didn’t overlap in audio coverage. This is where the Bose EdgeMax came into its own, providing predictable coverage where sound reinforcement was required, and minimal spill into areas where it wasn’t.
“In a reverberant space like the gallery, zone segregation is very important,” Dillon notes. “Bose EdgeMax was the only product that could provide the right dispersion characteristics.”
The gallery is also the main space hired out for functions and events, thus the audio system had to cater for a broader range of needs than simply set-and-forget background music, including a way to easily reconfigure the system for differing applications. The Bose EX1280C processor acts as the control centre.
“The Bose EX1280C along with a custom user interface allows for control of each zone independently,” explains Dillon. “The rooms can be set for different modes of operation. They can have a lectern at one end or the other end and it will adjust speakers independently for the best performance.”
WORK OF ART
Being an art gallery, Maree acknowledges that seamless visual integration of the loudspeakers was of equal importance to their sonic quality. “The aesthetics of the building is really important. The Bose speakers are mounted flush on the ceiling or walls and don’t impact at all on our exhibition display.”
Having lived with the new Bose system for a few months, Maitland Regional Art Gallery is delighted with the result.
“We have had a few small events and the sound system has been perfect,” says Maree. “I am absolutely thrilled with it – the difference is exactly what we wanted. It’s really nice to be able to welcome people into the space and feel confident that they’re going to hear what’s happening.”